'Til Death Do Us Part
By Lin Courtright

He had been trained to ask the right questions through his profession. He always knew the right thing to say and when to say them. He knew when to keep his personal feelings to himself in the most sensitive of cases. To hide his emotions inside whenever he was angered, disappointed or fearful.
He had practiced his questions repeatedly in his mind on the drive to the hospital. Anticipated every possible response that he could be given. He had prepared himself.
Holding her hand, he watched her lay there. In her silence, he could hear her words being spoken to him in volumes. They had made this decision years before, but in this time of honoring her wishes, he found it difficult executing them.
The doctor had promised him that when the time had came that all medical measures have been exhausted that he would notify him. Even with his preparation readying himself for something that may or may not happen still didn't give him comfort.
The doctor's words didn't penetrate his distant thoughts. He saw the man speak to him, but he just couldn't hear what was being said. After the remark "I'm sorry to say..." the remainder may have just been an unspeakable foreign language unknown to anyone. The consent form may have been written in Chinese, he couldn't translate it. His only concerns were that of his wife laying silent, unmoving in the bed.
Stroking her silver hair, he remembered a beautiful, vibrant young woman with soft brown hair. A natural rose flush of her cheeks. Gentle blue eyes that offered support to him. She always had an unnatural sense of knowing when he need to just hold her after a bad day at work. Even as the years had passed, whenever he looked at her, he saw the young woman who he persued relentlessly until she finally granted him the opportunity to escort her to dinner on a beautiful June evening.
The day they married, she was dressed in a simple white dress with flowers woven in her hair. She looked radiant, yet regal in her simplicity. He now looked at her, a shell of the woman that he had focused his entire life.
Knowing her wished, he found himself struggling with the decision to release her of her pain. Free her of the agony of suffering.
Briefly releasing her hand, he turned to the young doctor who held the consent clipped to a board. With trembling hands, he signed his name to the form. Returning to his beloved, he held her hand in his, as the doctor carried out the order.
Within minutes, he saw a release of the life of his wife. She was at rest now.
He felt comfort and heartache in one single instance. He was alone with the memories now.
Sadly, that's all he would have left.


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